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We have corrupt officers, but some are professional – KatongoBy Mukosha Funga on 29 Jun 2017
Esther Mwaata Katongo says people may think police are more corrupt than RTSA because they have more interaction with the public than the Road Transport and Safety Agency officers.
And Katongo says police cannot go to “shit” in someone’s house because they are highly educated and respectable.
Meanwhile, Katongo has equated the relationship between the Patriotic Front and the United Party for National Development to the one between cartoon characters Tom and Jerry.
Speaking on 5FM’s ‘The Burning Issue’ today, Katongo said police officers were more than those who worked for RTSA and so the probability of being corrupt was higher.
“Without completely defending our officers, yes, we have been receiving some cases of corruption involving police officers but suffice to say that most of these complaints, we see them through the media when people are complaining but they will not come to us to say that this is what this officer has done. But in some instances, some officers have been apprehended and they have appeared before court. But again you should also look at the numbers. As police we have so many interactions with members of the public so if you compared us, I do not want to discuss institutions but if you compare the numbers of officers that we have as compared to those in RTSA, we are just too many and we have a lot of interactions with members of the public and a person who has a lot of interaction usually, you end up, in Nyanja that ukula mutu, you become wa mutu ukulu pa last you don’t lewa nkonya. So those are the issues that you should also look at. But not to say that we do not have corrupt elements in police, corrupt elements are there but we also have very dedicated elements who are professional,” Katongo said.
“There are cases of corruption and I threw it back to you members of the public that when you encounter an officer who is corrupt, bring that person forward but the problem that we have is that even you, you are enjoying in the corruption and we have found it very difficult to find these officers who are corrupt. There are elements of corruption but there are officers who are disciplined and those who are professional so it will go back to you members of the public to assist us. Do not enjoy in corruption and at the end of the day you start blaming police. Show us where the corruption is existing so that we deal with it.”
And Katongo said police cannot go to “shit” in someone’s house.
She was responding to a caller who implied that some officers defecated in Hakainde Hichilema’s house during a raid on April 10.
“He should have said properly where these officers went to shit in someone’s house. These are the issues that we are facing with the coming of social media. Anyone will just come up with anything and people will tend to believe. Are you sure a police officer can go to someone’s house and shit there? Do you know that these officers are very educated? They have their integrity and they don’t go there, they do not go alone. They go accompanied by another person. So you want me to believe that the officers went there and banyela munyumba batenga nama pant bamuntu? (they have defacated in the house and gotten some pants) For what? Ah, tiyeni tipaseko ulemu ba police (let us give respect to the police). Let us get things which are on the ground and not things which are neither here nor there…police officers have never done that, they are respectable people and let us respect them,” she said.
Meanwhile, Katongo said the relationship between PF and UPND was like that between Tom and Jerry.
“Talking about what happened at the graveyard, both political parties were wrong…the intolerance in these two political parties, most of the cadres in these two political parties are the ones who are giving us problems. Their relationship is like Tom and Jerry where whoever hits first carries the day; which should not be the case. So to the leaders in these political parties, let us ensure that we guide our members are contribute to the peace that exists,” she said.
Katongo also said police could not be blamed for death arising from a riotous situation.
“The law allows police to use force and that force which you use when dispersing unruly crowds, you use force and it has to be proportionate. Even in an instance where an officer is asked to justify that force, an officer is able to justify. For your won information, in an instance where the lives of other people are at stake and if the only option that we have is to fire a live bullet, the law allows us. And I will also give you an instance where in riotous situations, when people are rioting then you sound the riot proclamation and people do not want to disperse because nowadays people want to challenge police officers, so that they are seen to be superior, in such a situation, if a person is injured, or is killed, maimed in the process of a police officer doing his duty of dispersing those people, an officer will not be held responsible. That is according to law. So people should also understand the law and they shouldn’t feel that whenever they are engaging in unruly behavior police will use kid gloves, what they will use is something which will compel those people to disperse,” said Katongo.
About Mukosha Funga
Mukosha Funga is a Zambian journalist interested in good governance and anti corruption reporting.
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